All for Love

Told by: Desi

I had always imagined that I would have at least two, if not three kids. By the time my first was 18 months, I knew I would want three, if not four—but for sure three. The problem is that pregnancy is not so easy for me. I was sick for 20 weeks with my first. And the complications that arose with my second were far greater.

At 29 weeks, I went into preterm labor with our second son. By the time I was helicoptered to a hospital two-and-a-half hours away, I was nearly 5 cm dilated and 80% effaced. To say I was terrified is an understatement. It’s been professionally suggested that I undergo treatment for PTSD to fully recover from my flight, where I was strapped on my side and worried sick that I would be delivering mid-air. I remembering lying to the medics. Whenever they asked over the headset if I were contracting, I would shake my head “no.” I thought if I could convince myself I wasn’t, it would be so.

I miraculously didn’t give birth that day. Even more amazingly, I didn’t have my baby until 39 weeks, at which point I had my water broken and held my baby a mere 45 minutes later.

However, getting there was the biggest hardship of my life. It took one month of bed rest in a hospital far from my home. It took heartbreaking separation from my husband and two-year-old son. That was the sting that nearly killed me. And then, it took yet another month of anxiety-ridden bed rest at home, in our small town with no NICU. It took me completely relinquishing any care of my sweet boy. I thought he was at the most precious age back then, and I still feel like our time was stolen from us.

 

Nobody could believe we got as far as we did. And I couldn’t believe that even as I held my newborn son, our nightmare was over. I felt as if something were going to happen to him, and I’m only now, almost two years later, starting to gain better control over that sense of doom.

Needless to say, our struggle didn’t end with delivering a healthy baby. I developed PPD for the second time, and it was even worse than before. Once again, the majority of the caretaking responsibilities fell on my husband’s shoulders. And, because he was so stressed and exhausted, he also developed depression.

We’ve since moved into a sunnier phase of life. We cherish our children, very much. And yet we agree that it is best that we never risk revisiting that shadowed experience. We will not be having any more children, and I grieve over that third baby quite often. We even have a name picked out. If we were ever going to have a girl, her name would be Jean, after my late grandmother.

I sometimes daydream about Jean and imagine her future with our family. That hope has been crushed, and I mourn her. So, when someone insinuates that we are limiting our family size due to finances or convenience, it really hurts me. I am a Christian homemaker, and many resources I look to for help pierce my soul when they address family size or contraception. It seems that they often link the decision not to have many children to an issue of the family not wanting to be “inconvenienced.”

But I would love to be inconvenienced by another child. I would not love being ripped apart from the children I already have to ensure a safe delivery of our third baby. And I would hate seeing my family say goodbye to this baby, if she came much too early.

Our decision is not based on a lack for understanding that children are a blessing. It is rooted in counting the blessings we already have. And I don’t know how long I will go on feeling as if I am giving one up. But I will hold my boys even more tightly for her.

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Celebrating the Small Things

This is about womanly issues.

My youngest child, most likely my last child, is weaning.

And it’s left me feeling limp, small, and awkward.

I’ve recently begun to sort through my old clothes – my “pre-pregnancy” clothes.

Clothes I wore before I was pregnant with my child, before I knew my child, who was born in the first trimester.

Before I was pregnant with his younger sister, before I knew his younger sister, before I nursed his younger sister.

And as I find myself crying into old clothes that smell like my musty basement,

as I try on old clothes that somehow feel too young for the ways I’ve matured,

I feel limp, I feel small, I feel awkward.

My youngest child is growing to not be a baby anymore, and as I ache for the baby before her, this transition is a strange one.

I love pregnancy, and I love breastfeeding.  I love feeling so round and maternal and so close to God and so near the life purposes of my children and so a part of a beautiful lineage of mothers of antiquity.

I pull out from an old, lumpy black sack, a faded yellow tank top with thin spaghetti straps, and I pull it over my old-but-new-again, small, strapless bra.

The Love of my life, he gives me a wink, tells me I look cute and fresh.  I smile, and he embraces me.

He knows.  And he loves me through my journey.

I will hold onto his words as I nurture these feelings.  I will treasure from my most fertile season, the biggest memories, both wonderful and striking, I’ve gathered in my entire life.  I will hold onto hope that the season is changing into something that will be beautiful in a new way.  I will cling to these things, as I sort through these clothes.

I will learn to celebrate the small things – even when I am the one feeling small.

 

See also: The Minus Size Mother

This photo is by Angelica Garcia and resonates with me precisely.

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Living & Stewarding Grief

This is a portion of stillbirthday designated to bring awareness to the realities and struggles that pertain to living grief.  Examples of aspects that may find themselves within this demographic can include:

 

Living Grief: grieving aspects of parenthood, related to children who are alive: can include birth trauma, fostering, adoption, shared/step parenting, surrogacy, empty nesting and menopause

Stewarding Grief: emotional aspects of deciding to limit or inhibit fertility

 

Related Resources:

 

Library of Stories:

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Domestic Violence increases in pregnancy, leading to infant & maternal death.     [Path to Safety]      [Learn More]      [Quickly Exit to a Weather Channel]

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